Zambia is very experienced in pampering to the luxury traveller. Not only do the operators know that service and hospitality at the lodge is important, they also know that their guests want seamless journeys between one destination and the other.
There are luxury lodges in five destinations with flights between each. Below we have listed the destinations with the best lodges in each.
Flights arrive from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Lusaka every day at Livingstone International Airport. Air charters are available from Livingstone.
David Livingstone Safari Lodge. This lodge is within the National Park, not far from Livingstone. It operates its own cruise boat, The Lady Livingstone.
Islands of Siankaba. On islands in the Zambezi River, 30km from Livingstone. Built on two islands with a magical rope bridge which links them.
Royal Chundu. On the Zambezi River, 55 km from Livingstone. Royal Chundu has been awarded the British Travel Award for seven years. The main lodge on the river bank is complemented by an island retreat in the Zambezi River.
Stanley Safari Lodge. Based on a ridge in the Mukuni Teak Forest, overlooking the spray from the Victoria Falls. 12 km from Livingstone.
Sussi & Chuma. Once a Ranger Station called Fairyland, Sussi & Chuma is within the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Parks and welcomes all guests including the occasional elephant. Sussi & Chuma has won the Condé Nast Travellers Award. It is a member of Sanctuary Retreats with lodges in South Luangwa, Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, China, Myanmar, Egypt, Kenya and South Africa.
The River Club. Along the Zambezi River, 15 km from Livingstone. Old stories and colonial atmosphere.
The Royal Livingstone. Within walking distance of the Victoria Falls, in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, The Royal Livingstone has a colonial atmosphere with flowing lawns down to the Zambezi River. It is part of the Avani Resort a member of Minor Hotels which has hotels all over the world. The Royal Livingstone has won the Condé Nast Travellers Award.
Thorntree Lodge. Recently totally rebuilt by African Bush Camps, this lodge is within the National Park close to Livingstone. African Bush Camps has camps in Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Toka Leya Camp. This is a Wilderness Safaris Camp, not far from Livingstone within the National Park. Wilderness Safaris also offers accommodation in Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park. Further afield it has camps in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya and Seychelles.
Tongabezi Lodge. Tongabezi Lodge was one of the first companies to build a lodge in Livingstone. It is 15 km from Livingstone, on the Zambezi River. Over the years it has won many awards for its hospitality and service. They are winners of The Safari Award, Condé Nast Travelers Award and Travel + Leisure Award.
To find out more about Livingstone, click on the steam train
KAFUE NATIONAL PARK
Flights to Kafue National Park from Lusaka, land at the Lufupa airstrip near Busanga Plains. Charter flights can be arranged to Chunga near The Hook.
Busanga Bush Camp and Shumba Bush Camp are within the Busanga Plains, a floodplain in Kafue National Park. Only open for 5 months of the year, these camps are prized for their exceptional service and equally exceptional wildlife. They are run by Wilderness Safaris which also has camps in Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda and Namibia.
Busanga Plains Camp. This is a sister camp to Mukambi Safari Lodge at The Hook. It is a family-run company with a love of Kafue National Park. Although a luxury lodge, it has a family feel.
Fig Tree Lodge. This is the youngest member of the Mukambi family. Within the National Park but not far from The Hook.
Ila Lodge. The newest member of the luxury circuit in Kafue National Park, Ila is close to The Hook and prides itself on being very eco-friendly.
Musekese Camp and Ntemwa-Busanga Fly Camp. Jeffrey & McKeith Safaris run these two camps in remote sections of the park, offering specialist guiding for walks, drives, boating and birding.
To find out more about Kafue click on the cheetah
SOUTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK
South Luangwa is accessed via Mfuwe Airport, a short distance from the park gates. South Luangwa is famous for walking safaris – mostly quite leisurely. The bush camps are open between June and November.
Bushcamp Company runs Mfuwe Lodge with its bush camps scattered around the park – Kuyenda, Chamilandu, Kapamba, Zungulila, Chindeni, Blilmungwe. Mfuwe Lodge has been places by National Geographic as A Unique Lodge of the World.
Sanctuary Retreats has Chichele Lodge, with the sister camp, Puku Lodge. They also have a lodge in Livingstone. Chichele Lodge is the favourite holiday destination for Zambia’s presidents.
Time + Tide Norman Carr Safaris. Chinzombo is the main lodge of Time + Tide Norman Carr Safaris with Luwi, Nsolo Camp, Kakuli Camp and Mchenja being their bush camps in the wilds of the park. In 2017 the company received Best Community Focused and Best Safari Guiding Team from The Safari Awards. In 2018 Chinzombo was awarded Best Design, Best Spa/Retreat and Most Romantic Property; the company was awarded Best Walking Safari and Best Guiding Team by The Safari Awards.
Robin Pope Safaris. Nkwali, Luangwa Safari House, Robin’s House, Luangwa River Camp, Tena Tena, Nsefu. Robin Pope Safaris received Best Walking Safari by The Safari Awards in 2017 with Luangwa Safari House winning The Best Safari House in 2018.
Shenton Safaris runs Kaingo Camp and their bush camp, Mwamba. Shenton Safaris is owned by an established Zambian family.
To find out more about South Luangwa, click on the giraffe
Lower Zambezi is reached by scheduled flights from Lusaka and Mfuwe (for South Luangwa) into two airstrips – one in the park and one in the Game Management Area. The park is only open during June to November, but the Game Management Area is open throughout the year.
Anabezi Lodge. Anabezi Lodge, with its sister camp Ngwenya, 3km away, are the furthest into the park.
Baines River Camp. Baines is in the Game Management Area, so is open all year round.
Chiawa Camp and Old Mondoro. These camps are owned and run by the Cumings family, the original safari company in the park. In 2017 Chiawa Camp was given the Best Safari Guiding Team and Best Location by The Safari Awards.
Chongwe House and Chongwe River Lodge. These two facilities are run by Time + Tide. In 2018, Chongwe House won The Best Safari House by The Safari Awards.
Muchichili Safari House. This is a new arrival to the luxury scene in Lower Zambezi. Based in the Game Management Area the house offers accommodation for groups or families.
Mwambashi Lodge. Mwambashi is in the park, not far from the airstrip. It offers various rooms from tents to suites and also has its own gym.
Royal Zambezi Lodge. The Royal Zambezi is in the Game Management Ares so is open all year. It won The Best Safari Spa/Retreat by The Safari Awards.
Sausage Tree and Potato Bush. In 2016 Sausage Tree won The Best Location by The Safari Awards. Their sister camp, Potato Bush welcomes children over the age of 4 years.
Zambezi Grande. This is another new lodge in the Game Management Area. It has its own spa.
To find out more about Lower Zambezi, click on the kudu
LIUWA PLAIN NATIONAL PARK
Scheduled flights run to Kalabo, just over the Luanginga River from Liuwa Plain National Park. After crossing the Luanginga by pontoon, the road goes through thick sand and into the plain not far away.
King Lewanika Lodge, run by Time + Tide, is in the centre of the plain under a canopy of trees. Time + Tide also has lodges in Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa.
To find out more about Liuwa Plain, click on the hyena
National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World
National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World is more than a selection of world-class hotels, it is a collection of rare experiences, offering guests intimate encounters with parts of the world not many get to know
British Travel Awards
The British Travel Awards is the largest and most influential poll of consumer opinion on the performance of enterprises operating in the leisure travel and visitor attractions sector.
The Safari Awards.
Based in UK. The Safari Awards, sponsored by The Good Safari Guide, are more about excellence than just being ‘very good’ or ‘better than most’.
Condé Nast Travel Awards.
Based in the United States. More than 300,000 travelers took part in our 30th annual Readers’ Choice Awards.